Rexel CEO Says France’s Policies Ignore ‘Active’ Energy Savings

Rexel SA Chief Executive Officer Rudy Provoost said French government measures announced last month to boost home insulation and heating renovation are insufficient because they don’t promote “active” energy savings systems.

“Value-added tax cuts on heating and thermal renovation are limited to a passive approach in which the building is treated as an envelope,” Provoost told journalists at the company’s headquarters in Paris today. “It’s not going far enough,” he said, adding that government policies shouldn’t be restricted to residential housing and renovation works.

The CEO of the world’s largest listed distributor of electrical equipment, who was presenting his book “Energy 3.0,” also urged makers of home and building controls to develop low-cost systems rather than mainly focus on high-end products.

The French government last week said it will apply a value-added tax of 5 percent instead of 10 percent on home insulation and heating renovation works from 2014 as rising energy bills dent households’ purchasing power. The measure may underpin demand for insulation products made by companies such as Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA, while providing little help for makers of home automation systems such as for controlling air-conditioners and heating units, including Schneider Electric SA and Legrand SA.

Provoost also said a lack of coherence in renewable energy subsidies have created artificial markets in countries such as Germany.

“A lot of countries tend to launch plans, and stop them after two or three years,” the CEO said.